Lute opens up about anxiety & the need for self-care on Gold Mouf

Four years after West1996 pt. 2, Lute comes back with his second studio album named after one of his moniker, Gold Mouf. Anchored in soul, gospel and blues, Gold Mouf is a refined work where Lute self-examinates his inner-world. What transpires as an underlying theme is the price that people pay while trying to make it.

Anxiety & Healing

Even if it is balanced with humourous skits and by Lute’s great delivery, Gold Mouf is a project with a heavy content. Songs that don’t see the MC tackling depression, stress or anxiety (« Ghetto Love » or « GED ») are the exception. What’s striking is the contrast between the rapper’s dark themes and his jazzy and soulful musicality. « Be Okay » stands as one of the strongest examples, its soulful and tranquil melody is betrayed by the heaviness of Lute’s rhymes, from the first few lines, he admits : « My anxiety be as high as the ceiling, I just wanna breath ».

In an episode of his mini-series Gold Mouf Chronicles, Lute shared that several members of his family have had a history with anxiety. In his own case, the MC trace his anxiety back to an open-heart surgery that he had to undergo as a child. Today, on the bluesy « Eye to Eye » (featuring Cozz), he makes it clear that this state of anxiety actually stays true within the context of his rap career :

« I really hate this rap shit some times
‘Cause true friends are really hard to find
On a scale of one to ten, anxiety be on nine
 » Eye To Eye

If he shares his pain, Lute also tries to find solutions. Song after song, the word « Healing » comes on MANY occasions and it’s no coincidence, it truly echoes a crucial need for the MC, the need to focus on himself and to recenter.


« Never take it wrong when I’m distant
I’ve been workin’ on myself for a minute
 » Overnight

Self-care is the pivotal theme of Gold Mouf. For Lute, this theme is far from being theorical or just useful for simple aesthetics. Months prior the album release, the rapper immersed himself in different realms and activities through the Gold Mouf Chronicles. From painting, cooking to exercises for the body and the mind, each episodes has a therapeutic feel to it.

 « Lately I’ve been selfish with myself more /Then again, I’ve been needing myself more » Be Okay

Through Lute’s rhymes, taking care of himself often translates into the necessity of reclusion, a crucial need for space. « Myself » might be the track where that need is the most evident. With DEVN on the chorus, Lute raps with more urgency, many can identify with him when he hammers that there’s no need for one to contact him if it doesn’t bring him peace.

Best friend become strangers

« Money always change the people ’round you more than it change you » Changes

Misunderstanding, miscommunication, paranoïa, Lute touches on those aspects all across the album. With BJ The Chicago Kid (« Changes »), he exposes how money put a strain on some of his relationships. Hearing his disarray on what happens around him, it’s hard not to think about Nas’ line from 1996 (on The Message) : « a thug changes and love changes and best friends become strangers ».

Throughout the project, it feels as if Lute was still trying to figure that new dynamic out when he wrote his verses. Eventually, the MC finds a sense of closure on the last track « Crashing ». Stressing on his confusion and how people around him claim that he has changed – knowing that they’ve changed as well – he concedes that « this is how it look when you follow your dreams ».

Broader discussion

On October 30th, LL Cool J & Jay-Z were inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. What felt like a great victory for hip-hop was tarnished only a few weeks later. On November 17th, Memphis’ mainstay Young Dolph was murdered in the city that he proudly helped and represented. It often looks like hip-hop experiences its highest highs jointly with its biggest lows.

For many black artists, behind success or the asperity for it, there’s still a lot of burden and ills. In a year where Isaiah Rashad’s The House Is Burning or Meek Mill’s Expensive Pain were released, it seems that what was specific to certain artists is now the default, the norm. Gold Mouf anchors itself in a lineage of contents that tame hip-hop’s current manifesto of grandeur. By documenting his inner-turmoil, by stressing how crucial self-care is, Lute adds to a wave that seems to adress the whole genre by declaring : « We made it but there’s a heavy price to this ».

Alfred Dilou

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